Team Building Activities for Work

We’ve all been there before: You announce that next week you are planning some team building activities and are met with blank stares. It can be difficult to motivate an unenthusiastic team. That just won’t do! The success of your organization relies heavily on building their skills to work together. Here’s a collection of some creative and fun activities that will help your team blossom.

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” -H.E. Luccock

Team Building Activities for Large Groups

1. Murder Mystery

Throwing a murder mystery is trending as a top pick for team building activites in 2019. This event is versatile because it can be tailored to your team size and is venue flexible. Hiring a trusted name like The Murder Mystery Company to handle your event is your best bet. This will involve bringing in actors who will guide the mystery as well as provide light costuming and show materials. Someone will die, in a comical way, and it will be up to everyone to deduce who dunnit! A murder mystery allows teams to flex their professional skills while having fun. Finding clues and piecing together the mystery is merely the guise under which this will be accomplished.
Murder Mystery Company Team Building Activity actor with knife

2. Who Am I?

You might have seen this activity before. It had a rather well known scene in The Office involving unsavory stereotypes (Pam just had to go there…). This game goes by different names, and the more people who play, the better! What’s My Name is an activity where each player is assigned the name of a person — dead or alive — and displays that name on their some part of their body that only other players can see (think the back of the head or the back). We don’t suggest using permanent marker on people’s skin, so a post-it note or 3×5 index card should do fine. Once everyone has been assigned a name, everyone will mingle and treat their coworkers the way they’d treat the person listed on the card. People can also ask Yes or No questions about their identity to try to figure out who they are. This game can be classified as an “empathy-builder”, AKA an activity that allows employees to find out what it would be like to be treated if they were a different person.

3. Company Cook-Off

Will it be a delicious dessert, or a complete disaster?! The outcome isn’t as important as the creative fun had in this activity. A culinary team-building activity will involve dividing your office into smaller teams. Pick a food category, such a pasta or tacos, and challenge everyone to cook up something yummy. If you’d like, you can add a devilish twist like they do on Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen, and require them to use a strange ingredient or cook with their non-dominant hand.
Group Order team Building Activities Silhouettes

4. Group Order

Get your group to line up based on different criteria, such as:

  1. Birthday
  2. Height
  3. Shoe size
  4. Haircolor
  5. Eyecolor
To make it a little bit more fun and challenging, make everyone communicate this info non-verbally. As everyone moves about, signing to each other to get grouped up, you’ll be able to observe their non-verbal communicate to complete the task and take note of who takes on the role of organizers or leaders.

Team Building Ideas for Small Groups

5. Jigsaw

Check out this twist on what is usually a simple game. Divide your team into two groups. Grab or buy two puzzles. Mix pieces from Puzzle #1 with Puzzle #2. Hand each time a box with their respective mixed up puzzles. Once they start working, they will realize that there are some missing and some that don’t fit. In order to complete their puzzle, it will dawn on them that they need to work together to exchange pieces one at a time. Put a time limit on the project and watch the teamwork blossom!
Jigsaw team Building Activity image

6. PowerPoint Karaoke

Okay, this one can be really fun. If you want to test your employee’s presentation skills in a high pressure and fast-paced situation, this is the activity for you! Give your group a set of slides that they have never seen before and require them to give a presentation based on those slides. See how convincing and confident they are after only having a few minutes to prepare. It could be good for a laugh depending on the content of the slides, but most importantly it will show you how quickly the team can pull together to succeed at a  difficult, time sensitive task.

7. Two Truths and a Lie

This game is truly a classic. If you have new hires you are trying to get integrated into the department, this is a quickie that will teach everyone something new about each other! Get your group into a circle and ask them to introduce themselves. They also should say three things about themselves, with only two of the statements being true. It’s up to the rest of the group to guess which statement is a lie. This game helps to encourage better communication in the office, as well as helping everyone get to know their coworkers better.
Team building ideas meeting

Indoor Team Building Activities

8. Team Emblem

This one will give everyone  a chance to show off their creativity! Divide players into small teams where they need to create a flag, emblem, or shield for their teams. Provide materials, such as cardboard, paint, markers, tape, and scissors. Give everyone some time to brainstorm some ideas that they want represented on the flag. This part of the process should only be allotted about ten minutes. Then give them the rest of the hour to make the emblem and have everyone present them to each other once complete. Welcome the other teams to say their interpretations of the art. This activity is great for building a sense of identity.
Team Building Activities Emblem

9. Guess the Object

A quick game that should be easy for everyone to pick up, because it’s basically charades. Ask for someone to volunteer. Show them an object (whether it is a physical object or a picture on your phone doesn’t matter.) The volunteer must try to get the group to guess what object that got based on their movements, hand gestures, and actions. No words! The rest of the group needs to guess the object within a 2 or 3 minute time frame. Repeat with new volunteers.

10. All Tied Up

For this activity, split your team in groups of 2 to 4. Instruct these groups to form into circles facing each other. Use rope or shoe strings to tie their hands together and them require them to complete everyday tasks together. Examples of this include

  • Going through an obstacle course
  • Making a sandwich
  • Painting a picture
  • Brewing a pot of coffee
The challenge is obviously working together to achieve these goals while physically constrained. This will force people to think outside of the box!
All tied Up Team Building Activity Rope Image

Outdoor Team Building Activities

11. Scavenger Hunt

You thought that this activity was just for kids? Well, I gotta tell you you’ve been missing out… Check the weather forecast and pick a day that looks like it’ll be beautiful. Pair people up based on the goal you want to achieve. If you want to strengthen a team on a department level, make sure you pair them up together. If getting new employee’s acquainted with the office is the goal, pair up newbies with the more senior members of the office. Here are some ideas for a scavenger hunt. Set up your city-wide scavenger hunt with these options. You can also use an app like Stray Boots, or do it yourself! The fresh air and challenge of the game will leave everyone feeling rejuvenated and bonded. Take a lot of pictures for memories you can frame or even do a slideshow recap with the group. Share all your hilarious misadventures while on the hunt!
Scavenger Hunt Team Building Activity Treasure Map Image
Drown the Balloon Team building Activity - Balloon Image

12. Drown the Balloon

This is a great activity to reinforce problem solving capabilities! Every group must fully immersive an inflated balloon in a bucket of water for five seconds. But there’s a catch (of course)! They can only use the provided materials to make this happen. Every group gets a water filled bucket, a balloon, a brick, 5 disposable straws. 5 paper clips, 3 binder clips, 1 plastic bag, a piece of string and a piece of tape, and scissors. Put the brick in the bottom of the bucket and allow the teams to make a strategy in a few minutes. Then give them only 5 minutes to make it happen!

13. Minefield

Foster trust with this well known team building activity, a real life version of Minefield! Choose a space, either inside or outside, that you don’t mind making a little cluttered for the activity. Place “mines” or objects such as paper cuts, balls, or books in the area. The team member that will be walking through this area must be blindfolded. Under the guidance of their team’s verbal instructions, they must make it to the other side of the room without triggering any of the mines. This exercise will help encourage collaboration and get teams used to relying on each other instead of taking stuff on all by themselves.
Minefield Team Building Activity Icon